Monday, October 18, 2010

Why NaNoWriMo?

If you're still trying to decide if you should do NaNoWriMo, or if you're wondering what NaNoWriMo is, here are some things that might help.

The reasons I decided to do NaNoWriMo for the last two years and again for this year:

1. It's a lot more fun writing with other people. Even though they're internet friends, there's a certain inspiration that comes from knowing lots of other people out there are working towards the same goal you are.

2. It helps me enjoy writing a lot more. Writing with literary abandon helps me feel free to write in ways I wouldn't otherwise. Throughout the rest of the year I feel like I constantly have to edit what I write, keep myself from switching points of view, or even changing from past tense to present tense. But with NaNoWriMo, I don't have to pay attention to any of that. More writing, less pressure.

3. At the end of the month, if I've completed my goal, I feel great. I feel like all the cobwebs have been shook out of my head and I've been risky with my creativity. It helps fuel ideas for the rest of the year, even if I never look at a single word I wrote during November ever again.

4. Now that I've done NaNoWriMo, I feel practiced enough that this year, what I write actually has a decent chance at coming out useable.

5. It's a great excuse to tell my family and friends that I need time to write. My wonderful husband has agreed to let me write like crazy in November and not ask me to play World of Warcraft with him. Plus, it'll give me bragging rights at Thanksgiving when I can tell all my relatives that I am indeed writing a book.

6. This year, two of my friends who have never done NaNoWriMo before have joined and are excited to do it. This is sooooooo cool! There's nothing like working on a project with friends.

So, if you still don't know if NaNoWriMo is right for you or not, think about the following:

If you have other friends who you think would be willing to write with you, that's a plus.
If you think you have two hours per day to devote to this during November, that's wonderful.
If you don't think you can write 50,000 words in a month, but maybe you can write 25,000, go for it.
If you've been looking for an excuse to distract yourself from your current WIP and start a new story, this is your chance.
If you've been playing it safe and only writing things you *know* other people will like, you really need to do this and break out of your box.

And for those of you who are still confused, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, people from all around the world each attempt to write a novel in a month. For the sake of quantifying what a novel is, the website says 50,000 words. By today's standards, that's a pretty short novel, but hey, you're writing it in a month so give yourself a break.
In order to write 50,000 words in November, it breaks down to writing 1,667 words per day. That's approximately 7 pages of double-spaced type in Microsoft Word. It's not really all that bad.
The trick is to not let yourself stop writing. Even if you have no idea what comes next, just write whatever comes into your head. Yes, crazy and sometimes boring things start to happen when you do this. But it really helps exercise those writerly muscles necessary for novel-length pieces.

I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year. If you want to find me on the website, just look for the name leolewis. (Stands for Leonardo da Vinci and C.S. Lewis, two people I admire.)

If you want me to buddy you on the site, post your NaNoWriMo name in the comments.

Write on, fellow citizens! November is almost upon us!

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog post. I agree with everything you said. It's such a positive experience - and it inspires even more writing beyond November. At least, it has for me. Good luck to you in this year's NaNoWriMo!